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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  December 20, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PST

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>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight, leonardo dicaprio and martin scorsese, the actor and director from "the wolf of wall street." >> we were very skeptical about putting these people up on film and the likability of guys that had been so, in a sense, destroyed the american economy or at least that mentality with these characters. and he said "look, as long as you portray people as authentically as you possibly can and you don't try to sugar coat their intentions and you give an accurate portrayal of their very nature, audiences will go along with you on that. and that kind of clicked with me for the entire film making process. >> it also just was what it was. it's gone. that's it. so we just move on and we take advantage of what is new. the new technology, the new marketplace. if the new marketplace makes films like -- that are bigger blockbusters, some of them are
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very good. fine. there's a place for that. but it's important for young people to know there's other kinds of films. and there has to be -- we have to fight to make those pictures. >> rose: dicaprio and scorsese for the hour. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: martin scorsese and leonardo dicaprio are here. their creative collaboration has
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been one of the most fruitful in film history. in 2002 they first worked on "gangs of new york." since then they've partnered on "the aviator" "the departed" and "shutter island." their fifth film tell of the rise and fall of jordan bell fort. he made millions on financial scheming until he was brought down by the government and sent to prison. here's the trailer for the new film "the wolf of wall street." >> excuse me. >> yeah? >> is that your car on the left? the jag? >> yeah. >> how much money you make? >> i don't know, $72,000 last month. >> you show me a pay stub for $72,000 i'll quit my job right now and i'll work for you. hey, listen, i quit. yeah, i'm going into stocks. >> at the tender age of 22 i went to the only place that fit my high minded ambition. >> mow the money from your client's pocket and you'll die.
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but if you can make clients money at the same time it's advantageous to everyone, correct? >> i started my own firm out of an abandoned auto body shop. >you will be the wealthiest 1% of americans. >> i love three things: my country, jesus christ and making people rich. hello? >> i need it molded in my own image. >> with this script i'm going to teach each and every one of you to be the best. have >> this is the greatest company in the world! >> i was the stuff of legend. i was making so much money i didn't know what to do with it. >> $26,000. for one dinner! >> dad, we're not poor anymore. >> what did he do? cure cancer? >> that's why they were expensive. >> $22 billion in three hours! >> is all this legal?
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>> absolutely not. >> he's got pictures of your whole inner circle. >> you're okay. you're all right. >> this right here is the land of opportunity. >> you just tried to bribe a federal officer. >> this is america! >> this is my home! good for you. >> the show goes on! we're going need to end? the national guard to take me out because i ain't going nowhere! (cheers and applause) >> we don't work for you, man. >> you have my money taped if your bobs. technically you do work for me. >> i'm pleased to have martin scorsese and leonardo dicaprio at this table. welcome. you're watching the trailer. tell me what's going through your mind as you are watching what you have put together. >> what an insane endeavor this
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was. >> rose: (laughs) insane? >> it was insane. i mean, we were taking off material that i think was very lard to get financed in the first place. i mean, i keep talking about it as a modern day fall of the roman empire. like a modern day caligula. the hedonism was rampant and it was a picture of jordan's biography and how honest he was about his addiction to wealth and power and greed during his time on wall street. but it was a wild shoot. it really was. >> yeah. i mean i just -- we only finished the film about -- >> rose: two weeks somethat that >> yeah, and seeing the trailer it was like just looking at it. it was something that i -- you had brought it to me. you brought the script to me. >> rose: and you had to beat out some people, too. some people said that brad was interested and other people were interested.
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>> that's all the stuff that happens behind closed doors that i don't understand. but i went after this book. >> rose: but there was competition. but you wanted it because it was a story that you wanted to tell because it was -- >> well, look, i mean, this is a satire and it's a dark comedy but, you know, so is "dr. strange love" or it's -- we take a funny approach to this but ultimately what we're talking about is a very serious subject matter and it represents something within our very culture. >> rose: and there are winners and losers and lots of money. people get hurt, people make money and all of that. people go to jail. >> absolutely. >> that's why i didn't -- i'm sorry, but i don't think i ever thought of it as a satire. i just thought of it as a straight story! (laughter) >> rose: >> i mean it's an accurate depiction. their own life was a satire. >> oh, i'm sure. buff you know i think -- my feeling is not to separate yourself from it but this is it,
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i think. this is really it. this is the mentality and we were pushing it but believe me we couldn't -- actually we just scratched the surface. >> rose: you scratched the surface of what -- >> the story we could have told or whatever. but what i wanted to do at that point was if we can't tell them all, compress it into such a they we tlould throw the audience right into the maelstrom of this kind of thinking. >> rose: that's part of what happens. you do get caught up. you almost feel like you're inside the room where all this madness is happening. and some things you might not have even seen before. >> and a lot of it's just truly unbelievable. i read this book and i couldn't believe that this man lead this life-style and still survived. >> rose: but didn't you, in fact actually talk to him during the making of the film? >> quite incessantly. >> rose: (laughs) >> rose: tell us who he was. we know his story in the book but you said one interesting thick. he was truthful.
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>> yes. >> rose: to himself. >> that's what i think i appreciated most was that he -- to him the book, i think, was a cautionary tail of his time on wall street. and since that time he's a much different person and he's actually depicted as we depict him at the end of this movie as somebody who's going around talking about the dangers of greed and trying to get into the business sector with some sort of moral foundation. >> rose: kind of tony robbins of his time. >> exactly. but his -- he was incredibly candid and honest with me about what he went through. and a lot of times we would talk about sections in the book and he'd say "no only was it that bad, i was ten times worse and i'm going to tell you why." and i appreciated that honesty because i think from marty's perspective he wanted to have a little bit of distance from that subject but i needed to speak to him constantly just to get, you know, the nuances and the detail of what these scenes were like.
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what this life-style was like. >> rose: what story are you telling? i just want to nail it down between you two. >> i think when i found my way in the material -- because when i first read it i felt that i had in a sense visited this before in other ways. and so -- but i began to realize that it is about in a sense you can say a touch upon "goodfellas" or "casino." in a way. but here there's a veneer of respectability and i was fascinated with them by the possibility of a person who has that -- has the talent of persuasion and -- >> rose: a superb salesman. >> a superb salesman. can sell anything. and when that occurs and money is able to move or he's able to move ahead that way and there's
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no restraint. what do we do? >> rose: there's no sensors. >> what would we do in a case like that? do we give into our weaknesses? it's not only just him. it's a confidence man. >> rose: he had a kind of -- it's a kind of moral story. >> i'm above that. i've had my own problems in my life so the thing is in terms of the confidence man, the confidence man takes your confidence, you can confide in him, you trust, give him your trust and he betrays you and the confidence man is always charming. it could be in business, it could be in art, it could be in love. >> rose: you have said that the speeches were some of the hardest stuff because that's where you saw art of salesman you saw how much he believed, almost, or did, what he was saying and it was almost messianic and -- >> well, you know, i had been thinking about the -- terry
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winter twlo incredible screenplay, really catered for marty and myself and i had been thinking about these speeches for almost six years and, you know, mechanically breaking them down. buff it wasn't until i was on the stage where it took on a life of his own. i felt closer to what jordan must have felt during that time period where he almost created a cult for himself. and being able to provide great amounts of wealth to this mass of people who were worshiping him and it took on this incredible life of its open and i kind of felt like i was bono or some rock star. (laughter) even though i knew that these actors were paid to clap every single time i was shouting at them, you get-the-incessant need to, you know, push them forward and it almost became like this
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"brave heart" speech or cry for battle, except that was persuading them go out there and essentially view as many people over as possible. >> rose: do not hang up the phone until you've got the sale. >> that's right. >> rose: what's the magic here between the two of you. this is, as i said, the fifth film. do you achieve something with an actor so that it's unspoken? it's -- you know the potential of him? you know -- >> i think -- i think what's happened is that we go picture by picture and and in terms of -- i think it really, really clicked on -- got to know each other on "gangs of new york" but it really clicked on "aviator" in that i saw that, you know, not only the range is there but range? i mean you can keep asking and you keep getting. that's what i mean by the range. and you can go further. so the main thing to me is that, you know, we have similar
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responsibilities and similar tastes and interests. >> rose: what does that mean? how does it play itself out. >> attracting certain actors, not necessarily afraid to take certain risks with characters. >> rose: with moral issues as well? >> moral issues. >> rose: right and wrong. >> yeah, right and wrong and everything in between. (laughter) >> rose: holding the lane. >> a man who flies planes but can't open a doorknob. that's fascinating. >> rose: (laughs) that's right. you're talking about howard hughes. >> yeah, and then we get into "the departed" and all the elements that came into the story and the sense of his own guilt as a character, couldn't even sit still in a place and look over his shoulder or somebody would come in behind him and get him for whatever it is he's done in his life. sure enough, he is the informant. and "shutter island" was one of the hardest, i think, because
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you can't pin the character down at all because he's many different people. and you don't even know the stories. the stories may not exist ultimately by the end of the picture. and so we found -- that was a labyrinth going through that. but it took a while for me to come around to this one and again that's not necessarily -- >> rose: coming tooshd -- >> to this story, "the wolf of wall street." because what happens is that it isn't like we'll make another film together right away. it's this the atmosphere, the -- the tone of it has to be -- we have to agree upon that. we have to be ine same -- from the same city, so to speak. >> rose: and you get that by conversations about the movie that you want to make? >> conversations. and you know the problem with the film like this is that you can't $'s no sense, especially at my age going into a situation with a group of people who will going to -- let's say, you know, a studio situation where they're going to say there's maybe too
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much drug taking, there's too much sex. at this point there's no sense in me making the film because then i would just be constantly distracted by the levels of restrictions. >> rose: yeah. and you want no part of that. >> i can't do it. >> rose: (laughs) i can't do it. >> you simply can't. you get to the phone, you get to the door. it's not like -- there's no sense of it because there's only so many breaths you can take. (laughs) >> rose: that's exactly right. that's exactly right. so why do it. >> so here we pointed out, you read it and it made it very, very possible for us to -- >> rose: make the movie do what you need? >> i needed to have the freedom to do it. >> rose: on a large canvas. >> it goes right through the m.p.a.a. and everything else. we went -- we toed the line and this is the film we were able to make and we feel comfortable
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with it. but it's very hard because you have to deliver certain things in the hollywood marketplaces, there's blockbuster pictures they have to sell. i don't believe i'm made for that, you know? they need a certain kind of products which theirs, which is fine. i can't do it. i would try. >> rose: well, you don't need to. now, but within that context somebody will say "hey, most movies an hour and a half and here you have a three-hour movie." do you simply say "this is what i need to tell the story that i was born to tell with this story"? >> not a minute less, not a minute more? >> no, i tried to cut it as much as possible. and this is where we -- when the dust settled, this is where we were, thelma and i. >> rose: who's thelma. >> she's my editor. since "raging bull" since 1980. we moved the editing equipment
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into my house and just worked there day and night. worked there day and night for a year on the picture. i really tried to get it as tight as possible but then to take the risks of creating this whirlwind of a picture and then slowing are long dialogue scenes that would stop -- you'd think it'd stop the flow but because of what they're discussing, for example, oh, you know, they have an event at the beginning of the film where they pick up little people and toss them against targets. >> rose: (laughs) yes. >> now, in order to do that in an office you must have a meeting. >> rose: (laughs) now you know, you're sitting at a meeting discussing "well, what about safety? what about this?" imagine what could come out of those meetings. >> rose: (laughs) >> so to put yourself in that mind-set, you know, and to play it long enough to make you actually start to up in reality.
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>> rose: this case-- he's also the narrator. >> yes. >> rose: was that a choice you had to make? >> that was in the screenplay. >> rose: that was there. and did you give him a lot of room for improvisation in this? or you always do that with him because you know what he can do? >> yes, but i think in case of "shutter island" it was different and certainly "aviator." but here, yeah. >> rose: i mean, there's scenes in this movie-- i'm thinking about the scene where you go back out to the car. (laughs) you crawling around not knowing where the hell you are. (laughs) >> that was what was interesting about this film more than other films. other films we've done have been not behold on the a specific property structure but certain things needed to happen to result in a very specific ending. and this was a lot more free form. it was like organized chaos. we knew we weren't taking on classic american literature here.
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where ultimately the character became the plot. and i think more so than any of the other films we've done there was a lot to discover in this movie. >> yes. >> there was a lot to discover about the very nature of what we were trying to do. and it really didn't come alive until we were on set. >> rose: that's what i was going ask. once you were there doing it you saw possibilities of doing more? >> it was just about everyone taking on this he donistic attitude and giving into every temptation possible and every actor sort of had that air about them on set. so it allowed for all these insane possibilities every single day. i mean, everyone would kind of push the envelope. >> rose: (laughs) >> but what was interesting more than anything--. >> rose: is this the most fun set you've ever been on? >> it was hard to get through in the morning sometimes because i didn't know what would happen. it was like an avalanche. >> rose: (laughs) >> but the truth is we improvised a lot of this beforehand but then when we got
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on set and working with the other actors it became -- it spiraled into a multitude of different directions and it was very freeing in a lot of ways. >> it really was. there's certain things that happened. you know, if it says "he crawls across the ground to get to his car" well, the door opens up. i didn't realize that, until they got there and saw -- they told me last week, oh, i forgot. now what do we do? it's up to him! >> rose: (laughs) use your feet. >> i didn't know how i was going to get door open until i got there. >> he said "can i use my foot?" it looks like jerry lewis or something, you know? >> rose: what's the magic between two of you? what does he bring when you work with somebody and you can work with almost anybody you want to and you come back to a man you've worked with four times before this. >> well, look, i went into this venture aggressively trying to
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find something to work with marty on with "gangs of new york" and i found that screenplay and, you know, ever since i got my first film it was really my father who pointed throughout great cinematic relationship with de niro and scorsese and started showing me these films and when you feel that impact at a very -- at a very early age it makes quite an impression on you and so once i got the opportunity in essence to finance pictures with my name he was really the first guy that i aggressively went after to collaborate on something with. and since then, needless to say, the man knows more about cinema as an art form as anyone i've ever met in my life. so every movie has been this incredible, incredible education for me. really. and i've learned a lot more about what it is to be an actor.
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and almost these kind of mantras. you know, it's not this conscious thing that he does with me. he's not sitting me down saying "look, kid, this is how you do it." for both of us it's a discovery process and it's a constant conversation. >> rose: a constant collaboration. >> absolutely. and in this film-- i keep saying this over and over-- but he said one thing to me and that was "look, we were very skeptical about putting these people up on film and the likability of the guys that in a sense destroyed the american economy, or at least that mentality with these characters." and he said "look, as long as you portray people as authentically as you possibly can and you don't try to sugar coat their intentions and you give an accurate portrayal of their very nature audiences will go along with you on that." that kind of clicked with me for the entire film making process. and i realized that's in a lot of ways the way every film should be done.
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you know? >> rose: did you have to -- go ahead. >> i was going to say that i was hoping that one of the reasons i resisted at first, i didn't want to make any apologies for the way they behaved, in a sense. not apologies but to even create a kind of -- i don't know. >> rose: you want to capture the awe then thys any >> capture the authenticity. put you in a mind-set to see maybe out of more out of frustration in the situation and the way things are now than anything else. and i said "go ahead and behave that way." >> rose: you never had a moment where you said "i've got to find a way to make him likable?" >> not at all. >> in fact we resisted that. >> there was a lot of pressure for us to do certain things. i said "i think it's -- it would be imposing it on there." i said "he is likable in the sense that the confidence man is likable." >> rose: this is when jordan meets a sexy woman named naomi. >> jordan, this is my friend
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naomi. >> hi, nice to meet you. >> naomi, nice to meet you. >> you've got an awesome place here. i don't think i've ever been in a house this big before. >> oh, really? beautiful beach out there. nice to meet you. your name a is blare, right? >> yeah. >> you like to jetski? >> i've never done it before. >> you've never jetskied before? >> no, never. >> you've never been on a jetski. >> no, i haven't! >> how many times are you going to ask her? she's never been on a jetski. >> i don't know, let me ask her a couple more times. >> rose: (laughs) >> you should see what happens after that. >> i'm glad that you stopped there. >> rose: give me more tape, more film. let's show more of it! that was one of the hardest scenes to cut, actually. we were cutting that to the last minute. >> rose: why was that hard? >> it was something about the looks or the glances "how many times are you going to ask about the jetskis?" if you do too much the edge that you had with blare would have been lost. and when to cut to his wife,
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when to cut to he'll be coming over. >> that's the thing about film making, people don't think about it. all of a sudden it just didn't happen that way. it happened because it was meant to happen. and then you knew what the possibilities were. >> a lot of -- marty is obviously brilliant on set but the process he has with neal is pretty miraculous. they're old school. they sit there and it's one on one and they cut this film frame by frame and it's like a sculpture for them. they don't -- they're not rushed in their process and it's this constant dialogue between the two of them. they were collaborating for such a long period of time and that's where so much of -- it's cliche, but so much of the magic happens in this film making. >> rose: in fact, you've said that's where you're the happiest. >> yes. we have the best time, thelma and i, in that way. >> rose: because you know you've got great performances and you can decide how you use them, how the music plays. >> exactly. i work out the music and the
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thing, of course, even if we're in trouble we know -- the trouble is there. we have it. there are ways to go. there are people who worked out things and we work it out together without a thousand people around us and the clock ticking away. >> rose: can you take a good performance and make it into a great performance in the editing room? >> i think you can. it's in the eyes. >> you did it with me. >> rose: (laughs) you're here to say he can? (laughter) >> well, margot robey is fantastic. she plays naomi and everybody came up to a certain level. >> rose: and jonah hill. >> jonah hill! >> the great jonah hill. >> rose: the great jonah hill. >> a great person and a great -- i mean, he was really in a lot of ways essential to the tempo of this movie, i think. he came in with the right attitude, you know? right off the bat he said "i know who these people are. i've seen this world, i've seen people consumed by wealth and
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greed and i can depict this character better than anyone." so i immediately told marty about it and they had this incredible meeting and right away he was hired. >> he wanted to audition for it. he read a scene. >> rose: he wanted to audition? >> yeah, but i didn't pay attention to the audition. it's just him. he's very good! >> and incredible improvisational actor. >> rose: you said as good as you've seen. >> probably the best. probably the best improvisation. it's amazing when you can have a certain thought process for what you think a scene is going to be and then somebody comes in and tears everything apart in front of you and you have to ride with it. and you have to react to it in realtime and all of a sudden it becomes something entirely different and that was the kind of -- that was the freedom of the attitude that we had while making this movie. >> rose: he would stimulate you to do things you hadn't imagined doing. >> oh, yes. >> absolutely. absolutely.
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>> in fact a couple times he -- sorry. >> rose: no, go ahead. >> remember a couple of timess where you and p.j. and a couple of the guys had to try to stop him. (laughter) then he would stop. i'd say "why aren't you talking?" >> rose: this is where donnie, the character jonah hill plays, tells jordan he wants to work for him. here it is. >> is that your car throughout? the jag? >> yeah. yeah. >> rose: you make a lot of money? >> yeah, i do all right for myself. >> rose: i'm trying to put together a nice car all that. how much money do you make? >> i don't know. $70,000 last month. >> (laughs) i'm serious. >> no, i'm serious, too. seriously, how much money you make? >> i told you. $70,000. well, technically $72,000 last month. >> you made 72 grand in one month? >> yeah.
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>> i tell you what: you show me a pay stub for $72,000 on it i'll quit my job right now and i'll work for you. hey, pauli, what's up? no, everything's fine. hey, listen, i quit. >> rose: tell me what that is. >> the timing issue is literally when you hear "hey, pauli." we went back and forth on that one. that's the problem. and also when to jump it. in other words, to try and break form, the impression that the picture is in a conventional narrative form in terms of editing, but then to push and break the continuity. and not -- i don't mean continuity in terms of just mismatches, i mean massive mismatches they don't matter because the rhythm of the story should go with the rhythm of the
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way they're thinking. and so the images should go the same way and we just kept cutting, ripping things apart. so a lot of that stuff doesn't match at all. >> rose: i want to introduce one more character. your father, played by rob reiner. your father max. here's a scene between jordan and his father. >> we short pfizer -- >> $30,000 in one month, geordi? huh? >> business expanses, man! >> jody, look what you got her. $26,000 for one dinner! >> no, this can be explained. dad we had clients, we had the fisa clients. >> the porter house margin. >> we had to buy champagne. >> and tell them about the sides we ordered. >> i ordered sides. >> $26,000 worth of sides? what are these sides? they cure cancer? >> the sides did cure cancer. that's the problem. that's why they were expensive. (laughter) >> shut up.
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>> for an actor as you were watching this scene, you had a lot of different kinds of things to work with. i mean, you know, if you want to stretch yourself and broaden yourself and think of all the things you've done, including the four films with him before this, you know, i would think this is like the -- this is a huge menu. >> yes. well, like i said, there was an incredible freedom in this process and once you set up characters whose one and only concern is their own indulgence, the script was set up that way. it's almost like this drug-infused ride that we go on that -- where people are incredibly motivated by greed and we don't see the wake of their destruction. we didn't need to do -- very consciously we didn't cut away to the ramifications of their actions. we didn't cut away to the people on the other end of the line to see how they were affecting the guy that just lost his mortgage. this was this hypnotic voyage forward constantly consuming
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everything within your path and when you set up that kind of attitude on set, you know, it's everying aor's dream. you don't -- you have no moral compass and nobody to answer to except yourself. so it freed all of us up, really. >> there really is no moral landscape there anymore, in a sense. if you do have any moral qualms, just take a few drugs and -- >> rose: the quaaludes is just -- i mean -- whoo. >> that quaalude sequence almost became a film within a film. >> rose: it did? >> yeah, it really did. it was through the -- i think it was a lot to the pre-production pro swresz we were combining different scenes and adding tension to that. adding tension, bringing in the popeye cartoon. >> rose: i couldn't believe that when i saw that. >> we were talking with terry and all of a sudden popeye is on -- the kid is watching cartoons, it's popeye, wait, let's finish.
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>> cocaine, natural progression. >> rose: >> but also the fact that donnie -- the fact that he apologizes to me with some of the most powerful quaaludes on the marketplace because he messed up a money deal and then you follow these two guys as he simultaneously finds out that the f.b.i. is bugging his home and then donnie's on the phone with the swiss bankers, he's got to get back simultaneously, they fight with each other -- i don't want to ruin the whole thing but it's a very -- >> rose: you're making it more interesting rather than ruining it. there's also the moment where he's wearing a wire and he has to tell him, doesn't he? that's sort of who he is. i can't not tell you you're going to incriminate yourself. >> well, i think that -- i think jordan at that time was very morally twisted, obviously. but that was one of the key moments in the script between those two characters where he -- he can't quite, you know -- he can't quite rat on his friend.
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he's got to let him know what he's doing and ultimately the landscape of where they are at is so corrupt in its own right that it envelopes him and all the characters that surround them. so that's an interesting moment in the movie. too. >> rose: and who was it that played his wife, nay yopl sni >> margot robby, australian actress. she just really came in -- we auditioned a lot of girls and it's amazing. >> rose: she was really good. >> excellent actress. >> rose: i've never see her. >> there's something about australian actors, too. i got to work in "the great gatsby" and they just work three times harder. it's an isolated island, they know about american movies, they work their ass off and she came in and just -- >> she knocked it out. >> rose: she really did. did you give her much direction? >> she didn't need much, no. we could see it right away in the audition. she came in -- >> rose: and what did you see? >> that she had -- >>.
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>> rose: she was the character you imagined? >> she was able to handle him just by a look. the eyes. >> rose: term first time. >> that was it. and especially we did -- in the audition scene we did the scene where she wakes him up rather rudely with a glass of water and she stood up to him no matter what he said or did. >> rose: i thought that was interesting, too, the tension in terms of the way she stood up to you. >> absolutely. >> rose: she was not a pushover. >> no, not at all. >> rose: and that was necessary, i assume. >> yes, yes! absolutely. but it was also necessary for him to deny as much as possible. i mean, you can forget things like that going on. it slips your mind. (laughter) >> dominatrix. >> rose: oh, yeah, i saw that part! did he like that? that's what my first thought when i saw that scene. >> oh, yeah. >> rose: this is jordan, jordan must have liked this. >> he liked all of it. he liked all of it. >> he didn't even remember for a
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while. >> but my attitude with all of this which is why it wasn't embarrassing in a lot of stuff is embarrassing. i played it kind of like he was a roman emperor and he was indulging in every possibly thing that he could. i mean, short of maidens feeding us grapes there's everything in this movie. >> rose: what do you have to do to make sure you don't have ratings problems? >> well, i was able to -- i've had a long time with the ratings board, since '73 but here they just asked us to tone down what we could the accumulation of the sexual images. >> rose: the sum total of it? >> the sum total of it. so in certain areas. so we went in -- and you know, by the way, the rough cut, when we were screening it for our friends and friends and friends and friends, very often, you know, you're cutting the picture trimming it. the first cut was four hours and five minutes. where is it too long?
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there's too much -- well, that came up a lot. it came up a lot. so it was not just m.p.a.a., it was a lot of people, my friends whom i trust saying "you know, we get it, maybe you want to move on." >> rose: and you listen to them. >> and then i'd say well i can't give up that shot. well, try this one. no, i can't give up that one. >> rose: what was the hardest thing for you to give up? >> i think we're okay. i don't feel bad about any of it. i think the plane -- >> rose: i heard you had to edit a little bit of that. >> that was enough. i had to devise a slot for it any way. if i had to devise a clear shot, i'd say that's one thing. i kept the shot and made hit in the toe tell room afterwards which was an overhead shot of the debris. that's where the shot is. but in the plane it's showing what they're doing so in order to tighten it i had no problem. >> in other words, this is the director's cut. (laughter) >> some frames here and there, that's about all.
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that. >> rose: and thank god for that. so when you were -- when you're going through all of this and making this knew veshgs what was the hardest thing for you? >> well, i think the hardest part was -- >> rose: there were drugs all the time. >> all the time. just the pre-production process in a lot of ways. i think that, you know, constantly reaffirming the type of movie we wanted to do. questioning what an audience -- how an audience would react to this stuff. we had to reaffirm that within one another. there were a lot of different sequences where the character could have gone in another direction but we kind of said to ourselves look -- there was one in particular where it starts to get very dark towards the end end of the movie and jordan does
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some prettytor risk things to his wife and i remember somebody bringing up the subject of whether the audience would still be with our lead at that point and whether we'd betray an audience and marty and i kind of looked at each other and said "look, we're going to portray this guy the way he di de picketed himself." >> rose: because you thought authenticity would make him more appealing. >> more truthful to what we'd been doing. we'd been there. why go another way? we didn't feel it to be more -- we had to be more truthful to what we felt. also about how we felt -- maybe you feel about yourself in situations like that. or if you -- or the points of -- in your life of crisis and how you behave in the past. >> rose: sitting here talking to you i get the impression you guys think you made the movie you wanted to make. >> absolutely. >> definitely. >> and that's very rare. >> rose: that's my second point. >> it's incredibly rare to truly get to make the movie --
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especially on this scale. because when you're making almost an american epic about greed and indulgence and hedonism like this, you really have to cater to a studio in a lot of ways. you have to cater to the audience. and this -- we had financiers and collaborators that said, look, not only do we want you to put this material on screen but push the envelope. be free artistically to go to places that you never imagined so that was one of the big motivators with me to try to get them to do this because i knew there was -- there weren't that many directors that would really take the time to explore that within the characters. it's -- i keep referencing this one line in "goodfellas" but that's the experiment twags the actors getting to play. it's your capturing something about the very essence of who they are which ultimately shapes the course of what the movie is.
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you know? he's interested in character studies. he's interested in what the actors do to capture the essence of who these people are. >> rose: what's the line in "goodfellas"? >> "what am i here to amuse you?" i kept asking him about that. and he said that wasn't even in the script. the guys started talking and. but to me that signifies what the movie is about. they're friends but there's a danger there that if you cross a line with me, you can be wiped out. >> because it's the life-style. in one second it can change. >> rose: exactly. yes. >> and that's a joe pesci thing. that happened to him so he said how about this? >> rose: what do you mean it happened to joey? >> i think it's something he's experienced in his life. >> rose: you cross me -- >> yeah. well, him talking, everything is fine and suddenly it changed. and when it changed you had to think fast, you know? >> rose: "goodfellas" is one of your favorite films? >> for sure.
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i think of his films -- >> rose: "raging bull"? >> the one that moved me the most was "taxi driver." i remember watching it at 15 years old and being transfixed with travis bickell because i was locked into this character and i felt such incredible empathy toward him. i understood him. i understood his loneliness and then he deceived me. at the point he deceived me i said "who is this guy i'm watching? who is thisern? " and i was identifying with him. i was with him on this whole journey and all of a sudden this is not the person that i thought he was and to me it's just really the greatest independent film ever made. it really is. >> rose: paul slaider is an extraordinary -- >> i think you had something to do with it >> paul delivered this. it was amazing. and depalma gave me the script. brian depalma. he said "you've got to read this." >> but you were going around
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hollywood with that script. >> rose: i hadn't done "mean streets" yet. get away, kid. the no one's going to make that film. >> rose: don't bobby de niro suggest you should take a look at him way back when? >> before that. it was "this boy's life." and then i saw -- i always tell the story because i saw -- i hadn't seen hit in the theater "gilbert grape." and it was on television but i thought it was a documentary at first. the acting was so -- i hadn't recognized anyone. i didn't know you in it and then i sat and watched the entire picture and we were amazed. >> rose: are you now able to use -- able to make the movies you want to make? in other words, use this place, which is a good place to be. it's hard to find ones you want to make i assume. or maybe there's a lot of them.
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>> i'm trying. i have a production company but it was really set up selfishly to find material outside the studio system. stuff i find different outside the box that could be shaped from the very beginning and catered to be something that i wanted to do as an actor. because a lot of times once it gos to the system it can be a great premise but it can turn into something entirely different. so i even in my career i think that films like "aviator" or films like "blood diamond" that i did are almost impossible to get no matter who's a part of it and it really takes -- we always talk about the '70s the age of the director. but i've seen hit in the last ten years. the business changes. and thank god for outside sources of people that have run into wealth that are fans of movies and say there's a marketplace for something else.
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there's a marketplace for an epic of this nature that doesn't check all the boxes of explosion and fighting robots or whatever. we can -- you can make a movie like this, we're gamblers, we're going to take a risk on this type of film and thank god there's people out there that fill that gap. because a lot of the films that we're seeing now i think that are different are coming from these outside sources. >> which raises the question television. take house of cards. take breaking bad. >> i mean terry winter wrote this script. that's how we met and came up with the hbo series "board walk empire" from this experience. so it was fascinating to me because what we wanted to try in the '70s, too, was to -- pictures were getting longer, pretty much we had made it five and a half hours. the films are getting longer.
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the idea of exploring character and story and atmosphere to -- almost like novels and what kk go on for. "the sopranos" went on for 60 hours. so this is something that may be the place for the development of the new cinema, really. i mean, the old cinema was what it was. it's gone. we just move on. and we take advantage of what is new. the new technology, the new marketplace if the new marketplace makes films that are bigger blockbusters, some are really good. but it's important for young people to know that there's other kinds of cinema. and we have to fight for space to make those pictures, whether it's like the anderson films or coen brothers or paul thomas and the coen brothers and alexander
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payne. there's got to be places where they should be supported. in the '70s they were supported. i don't feel that way now. i think it's more of a struggle. maybe i'm speaking out of turn with them i don't know. but i feel there's a struggle for even the most moderate budget picture to be made. and even if you get it made and people don't see it because there's that problem of the distribution to getting to see it. pictures you don't see anymore that go straight to video. because now ultimately pictures will be shown through the satellite. >> rose: there are all kinds of platforms which is great but it's now this period -- george lucas was talking about it. a period of like ten years. it will be a dark zone where we won't know where things will land in terms of how things will be presented ten years from now. >> rose: but at the same time and thinking about the technology because you still are in love with film >> yes, yes.
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you have nothing for me for dailies or anything? >> we did the dailies. i did shoot digital at night because i'm not -- we can't light the streets anymore. it takes too much time. and there are really beautiful cameras. >> rose: so you combined film and digital. >> yes. >> rose: to sit here, his enthusiasm is so great, isn't it? >> absolutely. >> after all the films and awards and achievements it's like you're talking to someone who's 21 years old? and has all of these skills and all this love of the craft >> and gives you a great appreciation for film as an art form and sometimes that's undermined, i think, to me it's the great modern art form as well. not to speak for him but i think the stories he tells as a young
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man watching movies insays tonightly over and over with his father and the impression he must have had of what has been achieved in cinema's history and if there's anything we share i share that, too. i share a great appreciation of what's been done before me and it's almost like this -- this -- it's reached for the clouds. you're trying to constantly achieved something that great within your lifetime and you have to keep questioning yourself. did i do that? and i don't think that's a thirst that's ever truly quenched. you keep pushing yourself forward and wanting to achieve something as great as. >> rose: as came before you. you stand on the shoulders of giants, as they say. and you have a responsibility to carry the tradition. >> that's one of the things with our relationship, too. he'll bring to me oh, you know, there's an incredible film by
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this guy named tarkovsky called "solaris." do you remember the scene with the cars? and the mesmerizing sequence? so his father would show this stuff. so for example on this film he turned me on to the mills brothers. >> rose: is that right? >> yes. now i had to explain i knew about the mills brothers. (laughter) >> you've heard of the ink spots mart glee >> the mills brothers and the ink spots. yeah, we listened to that, of course. (laughs) >> rose: you used to show actors invite them in and have them watch films. as part of your both friendship and part of what have you wanted to infuse with each of them. >> yes, yes. on this one i don't think we did much. >> rose: you didn't say "you ought to watch this or this or this" because he'd already watched most of it.
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>> yeah. but -- >> rose: did you see that before this? >> oh, yeah. >> rose: at his suggestion? >> i'd seen it beforehand. but i think this film -- yeah, this film was different in its approach. films like "aviator" specifically we watched film after film just to get the specific tone of one sequence. but this film was i think a little bit different and more radical. it was this real discovery process to see what would happen if we put ourselves in that environment and fwaif the actors the freedom to do what they wanted. it was very experimentalal in that way. >> and for example -- >> rose: simultaneously? >> like the matthew mcconaughey -- i mean, he's -- i mean, i remember -- it's almost like -- his character is bringing me
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into dante's inferno. he's the messenger bringing me into the depths of hell and matthew came up to us and said "i have an idea for this scene." and he brilliantly came up with this sort of rewritten monologue that was so outrageous marty immediately said "yes, do that." but then this sort of chest thumping thing he did that became almost the mantra of greed. >> rose: i remember that! >> you pointed out to me and you said he's doing something in between takes and i think it's a vocal exercise. so i listened to it and i said "do you think he should do it?" so i said why not? let's try it. and he went with it and started adding -- you know he was hesitant bird calls. (laughter) but then he made it almost like this '80s rap at the end of wall street and we took that theme and we were doing -- the sort of final speech to the troops and that became the mantra of greed.
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>> rose: it was the mantra of greed. you're right. >> but like i said. that was what it was like on set. it was a very free atmosphere. >> rose: it's so great to see two people who had so much enthusiasm who threw themselves into it and as you said there were no restraint you said let's just give it the best we can possibly give it and see how it looks at the other end. >> our restraints were scheduled. we made it on schedule. tripping all the time and falling and trying to catch it up but we made it on schedule. >> rose: is this the best time of your life? the best time of your life? >> i feel very fortunate, yes. it's pretty amazing to think of -- you know, the type of actor or the type of career that i wanted to have at 15 and to still be sitting here getting to do the type of work that i wanted to do is -- i don't think victim imagined it to tell you the truth and i feel very
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fortunate and lucky to be in this position and i never forget that. i never forget that, you know, not everyone can do what they love and i'm getting to do that. yeah. >> rose: that's good. and you? >> me? it's a great time. it's an amazing time. i look back 71 years. >> rose: but you love it with the same intensity that you had -- >> i do. i do. it's purely in this point physical in a sense can you get there on the set again? i'm certainly up for it. and you say i think doing this in a certain amount of time and you get there and the energy is what comes from him and everybody on the set. rodrigo. >> rose: the actors, including the guy who won the academy award from france.
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jean dejardin, who was fabulous. >> improvising in english. (laughter) >> rose: he had so many moments. thank you for sharing this table. >> thank you very much. great to see you. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org .
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